AT a comfortable distance from one of Gloucester County’s modern highways and reached by a narrow, rustic lane, lies one of the Old Dominion’s celebrated early homes, Toddsbury. It was founded by Thomas Todd, who came to this country during the early part of the seventeenth century, and was a part of the generous acreage in Maryland and Virginia amassed by this far-seeing immigrant. At his death in 1676, his will, filed at Towson, Maryland, left Toddsbury to his son Thomas.
This old Virginia country place remained directly in the Todd family for four generations before passing from Christopher Todd to his nephew, Phillip Tabb, son of Lucy Todd and Edward Tabb, whose home was in Amelia County. The marriage of Phillip Tabb and his first cousin, Mary Mason Wythe-Booth, daughter of Elizabeth Todd, left Toddsbury in the possession of two direct descendants of the first Thomas Todd.
Among the many well-known and gifted heirs of Todd lineage are, Judges John Rutherford, Crump Tucker and Beverley Crump, Dr. Beverley Tucker, W. W. Crump, all of Virginia; in Maryland the Poultneys, Hoffmans and Moales; in New York, William R. Travers, Mrs. Ogden Doremus and the Townsend Burdens; a member of the Kentucky branch became a United States supreme court justice.
The house, exquisite in the simplicity of its colonial architecture, faces North River, an inlet of Mobjack Bay. Surrounded by a wide expanse of lawn extending to the water on three sides, and gratefully accepting the comfortable shade of many tall and majestic trees, it provides today, as it has for many years, a most pleasant abiding place. Within, the gracefully curving stairway, the old-fashioned recessed windows, the beautiful carving and panelled woodwork add to its charm. Of interest is a conical-shaped ice house standing near the gate, and at the rear of the house an ancient dairy which is used to this day. Seven generations of Todds lie in the old family burying ground at the east side of the lawn, their records from 1703 inscribed on the monuments which guard their graves.
The garden has lost some of its original plan and beauty. It was surrounded by a low, brick wall topped by a wooden railing, and entrance was made through a rustic gate. Walks within the garden divided it into squares, each with its vegetables and border of dwarf box hedge, and there were borders of flowers, of course. Various rare shrubs added to the old-world appearance of the garden.
Toddsbury is now owned by Mr. William Mott, who formerly lived on Long Island, New York.